Friday, January 18, 2008

The Other Dr. K on the Campaign Trail in South Carolina!

This is the Other Dr. K, and I’m delighted to make a “guest appearance” on Dr. K’s blog to tell you about one of my most recent experiences on the campaign trail. Michelle Obama made an appearance at my university on Monday, and I was lucky enough to be able to participate in the event.

In front of a crowd of approximately 300 people, Michelle Obama delivered an inspiring speech. She started by talking about her girls and how she would like to see a better world and a more promising future for them. As she put it, we are passing “garbage” along to the next generation, and in 2008, we should be able to do better. I do not disagree.

She spoke very eloquently and sincerely. Mrs. Obama pointed out several times that she is not campaigning for Barack Obama simply because he’s cute and she loves him (she married him for that, she said) but that she believes in his commitment and his character.

She did a good job of countering critiques regarding his perceived lack of experience, as made by the Clinton campaign. His experiences—she noted—have come from living abroad as a child, experiencing other cultures, succeeding at an Ivy League law school (leading the Harvard Law Review while there, which is a big deal), and then returning to urban neighborhoods in Chicago to make a difference for those in poverty and in need. She asked: “What would it mean to have a candidate in the White House with those kinds of experiences?” It is, indeed, a very good question. What kinds of “experience” should we value in a presidential candidate?

She also noted that our nation’s social climate is fairly “mean” these days, exemplified by the years of Republican AND Democratic greed (read: take that, Clintons!) that have resulted in so many negatives for middle-class workers just trying to get by and do the best they can for their families. She suggested that real change means getting out of that cyclical paradigm (read: Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton) and doing something different—leading in a way that will evince real change.

Afterwards (her talk lasted 45 minutes or so), I was able to shake her hand briefly and commend her for delivering such an inspiring speech. I noted how friendly she was to all of our college students, pausing to take pictures with them.

Michelle Obama started me thinking about feelings of hope for the future of this country—feelings that I have not had for a long time.

I think we have some good choices this year. Dr. K and I will keep you updated on the presidential excitement this week in SC!

No comments: